Resistance of the immature hippocampus to seizure-induced synaptic reorganization

Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 1991 May 20;60(1):88-93. doi: 10.1016/0165-3806(91)90158-f.


Temporal lobe epilepsy is a common form of epilepsy in human adults and is associated with a unique pattern of damage in the hippocampus. The damage includes cell loss of the CA3 and CA4 areas and synaptic growth (sprouting) of mossy fibers in the supragranular layer of the dentate gyrus. Experimental evidence indicates that in adult rats the excitatory amino acid, kainic acid, induces a similar pattern of changes in hippocampal circuitry associated with alterations in perforant path excitation and inhibition. It has been suggested that, in humans, this type of damage may be a result of seizures early in life. In this study we examined the effects of kainic acid-induced status epilepticus on synaptic reorganization and paired-pulse electrophysiology in developing rats and adults. Kainic acid induced more severe seizures in 15-day-old rat pups than in adults. In contrast to adult rats, these seizures did not produce CA3/CA4 neuronal loss, mossy fiber sprouting or changes in paired-pulse excitation or inhibition in the hippocampus of rat pups tested 2-4 weeks after status epilepticus. Our results provide evidence that the immature hippocampus may be more resistant to seizure-induced changes than the mature hippocampus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electrophysiology
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology*
  • Histocytochemistry
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Kainic Acid
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Pyramidal Tracts / cytology
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Kainic Acid
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / genetics
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / metabolism
  • Seizures / chemically induced
  • Seizures / physiopathology*
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects


  • Receptors, Kainic Acid
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter
  • Kainic Acid